Sir Roland Grey - Fornond, Miracia
As Estallir had said, the walk to his estate was a short one. His residence was by far the largest and most easily noticeable of all of the homes in Fornond. Rather it was more of a mansion among shacks, something that obviously didn’t fit with the serene environment it was placed in. In fact, Roland felt that way about the man in general. Where the port town appeared more as a a hidden, peaceful gem, Estallir seemed bred for the city life, where he was probably daily pampered and spoiled, wearing the finest clothes the lands had to offer, and eating the rarest of delicacies. He seemed a connoisseur of all items of rich value. Roland did not doubt that even as they approached his estate. He glanced at his other fellow knights and noted the odd Catskull fellow had taken off from the group. He was likely sulking around, but chose not to accompany the main group to the estate, it seemed.
The mansion was decorated with engraved silver and gold, with the front gate guarded by statues of bright, golden trees. All around was a fence thrice the size of any man, with sharp edges at the end to keep the unwanted away. Roland couldn’t help but wonder from whom exactly they were hiding. The monks mentioned ‘nefarious groups’, if he recalled correctly. Was that the purpose of this secrecy?
As Estallir led them inside, Roland found the interior of the mansion to be just as majestic as the outside, if not more so. Tapestries, paintings, and rare art were hung from the walls. The finest linen decorated the ceilings and windows, and suspended from the ceilings in each room were chandeliers, every one of intricate and unique design, and as Roland noted, none of them being the same.
They were led from this room into an adjacent one on the side. Estallir motioned for the guards inside the home to depart from the room they now stood in, what appeared to be a library of sorts, where resided a collection of books and scrolls that, while did not quite match the magnificent one of the monks, did come close to its size and wealth of knowledge. Estallir walked over to the door which led to this room, and closed it shut, the knights all gathered inside. He locked it, and then wandered over to a desk which was located in the middle of the room. A few open books lay there, though he did not seem interested in them at the moment. The man stood behind the desk, hands clasped behind his back as he gazed upon each of the knights, examining their features in preparation of addressing them.
"I will skip right to business. It is how I have always done things. Have any of ever heard of the... oh how you would say it in your tongue... The Dragon Stone?" Estallir asked as he made eye contact with each of the individuals before him. None immediately spoke up, so Estallir continued. "You might not have, it is known among the elves, but not quite so outside of here.
Generations ago or so the stories are told, a young traveling wizard had come across a stone and gained immeasurable power. It was said he could create anything from nothing. An unnatural ability. And one scarcely known in our world. But then, miracles were appearing left and right. Suddenly, fields were overflowing with crops and the people were healthy. He was heralded as a savior, a hero. This wizard decided to continue his good work across Aerion and aided the people whenever he could, using his gifts as a charity. In his old age, he took an apprentice with the hopes his student would continue his good works."
"Let me guess," Roland said. "He didn't."
"How astute," Estallir glanced at Roland with a smile, but then shook his head, "But not the whole truth. At first the student was filled with great promise and served the aging hero with great enthusiasm. However, the powers he had learned and further amplified with the Dragon Stone corrupted the young apprentice. It seems not all power is to be used so brazenly as he did. And in his prideful recklessness and greed, he took the stone for himself. Using the stone, he created only the finest jewels and tapestries, for himself of course. He then began creating more. Not just objects, but horrifying monsters to do his bidding, monsters he had created, or in some cases, revived from death. Eventually, people began to fear what would become if the apprentice went unchecked. So the people rose up and challenged the man. Much blood was said to have been spilled, but he was defeated." Estallir concluded and glanced at the knights, noting some of their confusion with the tale.
"To many, this story is a children's tale we tell our young ones to warn of the dangers of greed," Estallir explained. "To those old enough to remember, this is not a story. It is history." Estallir walked from around the table, grabbing a book on his way before continuing his story: "The freshly defeated apprentice was sealed away in an abandoned temple in these very mountains, just a tad to the north. The stone was sealed with him as it was believed to be too dangerous for lesser men to possess."
"So what? What does the Dragon Stone have to do with anything?" Roland asked, irritated by what he believed to be a long-winded children's tale. The story had dragged on for long enough.
"You must be Roland. I have heard about you. Well Sir Roland, it so happens that the Dragon Stone is in fact a shard of the Orb of Ardor," Estallir said with a grin, as he rose the book he was glancing at to reveal an artistic recreation of the Dragon Stone. It was a red shard, clearly broken off from a larger work. "The elves of Miracia are a peaceful peoples. Yet recently, our mountains have been cursed. Horrible atrocities have been occcuring recently. Terrible murders and slaughters... the things
that have done these, I dare not even describe, for you would have to see for yourself to truly understand... and believe. But if you truly wish to claim the Dragon Stone, or the shard of the Orb of Ardor if you prefer, you will have to seek the temple, cleanse it, and defeat he who wields the stone. Do that and you will have not only the shard, but a legacy in the land of Miracia. Of that, I can promise."